de facto film reviews 2 stars

Christmas may be over, but the holiday season is still in full effect, and its undeniable magic lingers in the form of the Michigan-made LGBTQ+ rom-com A Holiday I Do. Directors Paul and Alicia Schnieder weave an unconventional romance within a stereotypically Hallmark-style framework, but the movie is lighthearted and perfect for passionate fans of the genre. Commendably, the Schnieders avoid putting too much emphasis on the fact that newly divorced mother Jane (Lindsay Hicks) is trying to find her soulmate in another woman, a point that leads to an awkward beginning with her ex-husband’s (Joe Piazza) fiancée’s wedding planner, Sue (Rivkah Reyes).

This complicated pairing introduces immediate conflict and sets up a fascinating plot as Jane navigates her new feelings, her proximity to an ex-husband who remains her best friend, his jealous fiancée, a complicated wedding, and her mother’s (The Taking of Deborah Logan’s Jill Larson) secret dealings with the local bank concerning their family farmhouse.

A Holiday I Do - Jane and Noelle

The romanticism and overall plot structure fall victim to classic Hallmark tropes, including meeting the love of one’s life at the local coffee shop, the apparent breakup only for everything to come together in the end, the presence of “Christmas magic” conveniently solving complex issues, and other tropes.

Luckily, A Holiday I Do leans into its established style and offers a heartwarming holiday romance for everybody. The chemistry between Hicks and Reyes is natural and cute; the rest of the cast also performs well, and the set design and makeup dress the charming Michigan locations and its residents up to reflect the magic of the Holidays appropriately. Unfortunately, the story tends to become overstuffed, making the movie feel longer than it is and occasionally challenging to sit through. While the average consumer may find it too cheesy and familiar, A Holiday I Do is still a good option for Hallmark Christmas movie fans or LGBTQ+ viewers seeking something easygoing and cozy for the Wintertime.

A Holiday I Do is available now on Tello.